CLIMATE CHANGE AS A CORRELATE OF INCREASING INCIDENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH – IMPLICATION FOR COUNSELLING
Keywords:Climate Change, Mental Health, Counselors, Counseling.
The study investigated the relationship between climate change and mental health in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. A descriptive survey method was adopted for the study. Two research questions and two null hypotheses guided the study. A sample consisting of 196 respondents was drawn from the population (who consisted of the adults resident in Port Harcourt) studied. Random sampling technique was used to draw the sample. The instrument for data collection was designed by the researchers and titled “Climate Change and Mental Health Questionnaire (CCMHQ)”. The instrument was validated by three experts in Counseling. The reliability of the instrument was determined through the Cronbach alpha and the instrument yielded a reliability coefficient of 0.72. Descriptive Statistics were used in answering the research questions while the two null hypotheses were tested using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation at 0.05 level of significance. The study observed that climate change has impact on mental health in the study area. The study identified the following variables; bunkering, illegal refining as major causes of climate change, and flood and severe/extreme heat as major effects of climate change on the people and environment while depression and substance abuse disorders were also identified as the most common forms of mental illness experienced by the people in the study area as the fallout of climate change. This paper recommends among other things that the masses should endeavor to become climate-change literates and stay up-to-date with current climate change news and communications for best practices. The study sees the need for counselors to reach out to their fellow climate change and mental health colleagues towards providing solutions to the dire consequences of the fallout in mental health due to climate change. This implication calls for strong collaboration between the resource groups toward effectively tackling the menace on mental health caused by climate change.